Tag Archives: beans

Fork and Taco – Vegan Tacos in North Austin

After folks like the Vegan Nom and Taco Deli close up shop it isn’t as easy to find awesome vegan tacos on the north side as it is south of the river (or east of 35). When I’m on a taco cleanse and find myself in that area I start panicking about where to get my night tacos! The new-ish Fork and Taco on Burnet is the perfect fit for a vegan looking for margaritas and tacos to fit a taco-based lifestyle. They have several vegetarian menu selections that can be easily veganized, margaritas, and black beans and chips with guacamole to round out the vegan meal.

The restaurant is actually a bit hard to see sandwiched in a strip mall between the Noble Sandwich Co. and Pinthouse Pizza on Burnett at 48th street by where the Omelettry used to be. When you walk in you order at the front and then sit while with your number waiting for someone to bring tacos too you. The inside is colorful in a modern fast casual kind of way and they also have a back patio which seemed a little better for lounging.

It tried two tacos, the Crispy Cauliflower that comes with Mexican Street Corn (they can leave the cheese out if you ask), avocado, cilantro and lime. I liked this one quite a bit though my dining companion and I both agreed that there was way too much lemon in the cauliflower. Hopefully that was a one time thing. I also ordered the Beet taco which had grapefruit, avocado, pepitas, and cilantro (ask for no sauce) and I really liked it even though I typically do not care for grapefruit. It worked really well balancing the earthiness of the beets. Both tacos were strengthened by being served on thick homemade corn tortillas. In fact, I’d say these were some of the best tortillas at a yuppie kind of place in Austin. They also have a portabello taco with zucchini, crookneck squash, bell pepper, and tomatillo sauce but two tacos seemed like it would be enough for me. Plus portobellos are always risky at non-vegan places. Anyway I should have tried one for the team or at least gotten the side of beans because after only eating these two vegetable tacos I was as hungry as all get out by the time I got back to my south Austin abode hours later. Next time I will definitely get the beans and guacamole because a woman like myself can not survive on vegetables alone.

Mushroom Beans, Garlic Rice, and Experimental Broccoli

When I went to school in Olympia I learned to hate the word experimental. To me it became synonymous with really bad performance art usually involving movement, multiple projectors, and sometimes primal screaming. So when Mr. Smurf asked me last night “what’s for dinner” and I started to tell him about how it was experimental broccoli a loud klaxon should have sounded in my brain instantaneously.  

It all started with best of intentions. I have this book called New American Table that I love to look through and one recipe that I  was really interested in was tea poached bok choy. Over at What Does a Vegan Eat Anyway they are always smoking something with tea and it just looks fantastic and fun so I thought I could do it too.

First, I started the Garlic Rice, by sautéing six cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, then adding a cup of rice after a few minutes, sautéing until a little brown then adding a cup of water and some salt covered and let steam.

Then, once that got steaming, I started the Mushroom Beans. I tossed a carton of precut mushrooms in my skillet seared them, added a little water, a can of white beans and about a teaspoon of mushroom soy sauce (healthy boy is my favorite) and let that sauté for a few minutes while the mushrooms cooked.

So far this is the world’s easiest beans and rice meal besides completely plain beans and rice and  I should have just gone simple with the broccoli like braising it with a little ginger or garlic like usual. But damnit, it is veganMoFo so I need to step out of my comfort zone. Especially when there are people like Vegan in Brighton making things they don’t even think they like! And making them look beautiful!

Instead I made a sauté of 3 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of sliced ginger, two sliced shallots and cooked them for about three minutes. Then I added two crowns of broccoli, cooked that for a minute, then added 2 cups of water, 2 orange spice tea bags, some salt and some agave.

It wasn’t as bad as the play I saw where people were crawling around on their bellies yelling “monster” until they all “died”. Really, it wasn’t bad at all. My main problem was that I cooked it for a little two long so the tea tasted bitter and the broccoli was overcooked. I think the technique would work a lot better with quicker cooking bok choy ….like…um.. in the original recipe.

The rice and beans though were an easy easy easy winner. I will eat it again next time I am tired/poor/alone/busy/hungry.

Drunken Beans and Seitan Chorizo

I think Mr. Smurf started working on dinner around noon yesterday. Actually, no, it was the night before when I reminded him to soak the beans. The only drawback, really, to working with beans is the soaking. You always have to be prepared. Once he and I traveled across the country selling burritos along the way and we had beans soaking in the back of the station wagon at all times. It was just so cost-effective to make the burritos from dried beans that we had to do it and we didn’t have time to cook them all day without soaking over night. That often led us to some backwoods campground filling up our giant stockpot to start soaking beans at 2am. It was, honestly, the best time ever. We traveled from Illinois to California up through Washington, across the middle, all the way down to Charleston South Carolina, then up through Maine and came back through Canada where we had a big pot of beans with us as we crossed the border. Sometimes Mr. Smurf would take a nap the next day while the beans were cooking. 

Now we have things like running water and built-in stoves so making beans is considerably easier but it still takes awhile. Sometimes, I start them before work in the crockpot without soaking first but in some ways that is even harder for me because I have to get up two, or even three minutes earlier. In the winter (which it finally is here in Texas as of yesterday) I prefer to soak them the night before and then just cook them on the stove in a big pot over low heat.

After he started the beans at noon he made the seitan chorizo sausages so when I got home after work the house smelled amazing, like the best restaurant in the world. Sadly, it wasn’t until hours later that dinner was finally ready but it was so worth the wait. The recipe yielded a giant pot of beans that will last us the rest of the week. And the beans were delicious. They would have been just perfect with some pico de gallo on top but I didn’t have any. As it was, they were only fantastic. I loved the chorizo especially. The texture of it cooked in the beans was exactly what you would expect from the spicy Mexican sausage.

If you haven’t checked out Viva Vegan yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you aren’t even close to vegan you will find so many recipes that are just so well thought out and explained from all over Latin America that you will discover all sort of new techniques and ideas. And if you like vegan meat the recipes in Viva Vegan are the best I ever tried. If you have the book and haven’t made arepas yet do yourself a favor and learn to make them, I have made breakfast arepas, barbecued arepas, and Venezuelan arepas because they are so easy to do. And if you are curious about what all is in the book check out Kitteh’s blog because she has made so many of the recipes and she does it all without gluten and soy! 

Riso Rosso and Roman Beans

Last night I made the best beans from a can…ever. Maybe not ever but certainly in the last few weeks. The funny part is  (and by funny I mean disappointing but not that sad) that I was more excited to make the Riso Rosso, from Olive Trees and Honey, than the beans which were quickly thrown together. The Italian “red rice” was basically made by boiling beets and then making rice and adding some of the beet cooing water in to turn the rice red and adding the beets at the very end. What would have been better, I think, would have been to caramelize the beets and onions and then make the rice in that pot because it was pretty but boring. Next time!

The beans on the other hand were fabulous. I decided to use Roman beans to keep up the Italian theme. Since the rice recipe wasn’t using any garlic it seemed like a good idea to use a whole lot in the beans and then I added some spices and cooked them in a little brothy sauce They were fantastic, the garlic wasn’t totally overwhelming even though there was a lot of it because I cooked it for a while and the spices were perfect. I have to remember to make them again because they were so simple.

Roman Beans

1 can roman beans (or white beans) drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of tarragon

saute the onion until it changes color in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook at a slow simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Enjoy with the garlic sauce on top.

 

Lazy Roasted Broccoli with Polenta & Marinara

Have you ever felt like thiswhere you can’t even imagine ordering Chinese food much less cook for yourself? I found myself in that very situation but I was prepared with cooked polenta and white beans in the fridge. I wanted something that would be healthy and totally effortless and so I came up with the easiest thing I could have possibly made and it actually turned out pretty good. First I scooped out some of the cooked polenta and beans and stuck them in the oven. Then, I cut up some broccoli and rolled it around in olive oil and minced garlic and stuck it in the oven too, for about 20 minutes on 375. In the meantime I let some jarred pasta sauce simmer on the stove. Then I layed down with a couple of beagles. Then I ate way too much ’cause Mr. Smurf is out of town and I am not used to cooking for one person anymore. What are your favorite things to make when you don’t have any energy?

They Punctured My Yolk

I haven’t been feeling very smurfy lately. I won’t bring you down with the details but I have decided that it is time to go on an extreme health kick. So for the month of September I am going to be cooking a lot out of Jae Steele’s “Get it Ripe” and focusing on unprocessed foods. My plan is to make big pots of dried beans, a pot of whole grains and then eat them with vegetables throughout the week since I haven’t really felt up to cooking.

The first thing I made was the Cannellini and Kale Soup. Basically, you puree 3 cups of beans and sage and mix the pureed beans with whole beans cooked in garlic and then add some Kale. It was really good and we both liked it. The weird thing about cooking Ms. Steele’s recipes is that I read on her blog that she can be serious about people following recipes exactly. Measuring out 5 cups of chopped Kale is kind a time suck (especially since it turned out I had chopped exactly 5 cups anyway because I have gotten really good at that). Nonetheless I feel compelled to follow the directions specifically because that is what she wants me to do. Isn’t that silly? I felt like I didn’t even deserve a compliment for the soup since I hadn’t really made it any differently than a robot would have. God I wish I had a robot.  I could just hand the recipe to it and it would make whatever I wanted. Today I think I would make it cook me this tofu ceviche from Top Chef. And I would have it speak with a cockney accent. And it would sing “Can I Borrow a Feeling” when I am feeling low.

Cantaloupe Batido a recipe for another scorcher

This is the part of the year where you see if you really have what it takes to live in Texas. It is so hot that you can fry tofu on the sidewalk. You can leave some batter in the car and come back to find muffins. Eating tomatoes off the vine is like a slow cooked marinara sauce. In these times when it is a hundred and five it is too hot to do anything but relax with a cool refreshing drink.

In Central and South America Batidos are very popular. I think Batido means “beaten” because you beat the hell out of your ingredients with a blender. It is a lot more violent than the north American smoothie but it is also a hell of a lot more fun. You can use whatever tropical fruit you like, if your fruit is very sweet you don’t need to use and sweetener and you can omit the milk and use water instead. Here is how I made mine

Cantaloupe Batido

1/2 Cantaloupe, cut into big pieces

1 cup of milk or water (I used Oat milk)

1 Tablespoon of Agave Nectar

1 cup of ice

Then just beat It, beat it, beat it, beat it no one wants to be defeated showin’ how funky strong is your fight just beat it, with a blender.

I had my batido alongside another recipe from Vegan Brunch: Polenta Ranceros. This might be my favorite to boot. We added a little Black Salt to get the egg flavor and I topped it with a puree of yogurt, cilantro, and lime and then some cherry tomatoes & green onions it was fabulous.

Poor Dinger really hates the heat, he has allergies so I have to give him a lot of showers. Luckily, getting toweled off is one of his favorite things in the world. Whenever we get out the towel, even for us, he runs up saying “towel me”! My mom offered to take him for the summer which he would probably like. A beagle that summers in Illinois I can see it now.I plan to spend the weekend submerged in water so if you don’t hear from me know that I drowned happily! Have a fun weekend!